Apr 2, 2020

Offline and Real-Time Online Exams Will Replace In-Person Exams

Trinity announced the new plans for assessments in an email to students, adding that exams would take place between April 27th and May 9th.

Cormac Watson, Emer Moreau and Donal MacNamee

Students are to face online and offline exams in this year’s summer assessments, with assignments replacing exams in some modules, Senior Lecturer Kevin Mitchell has announced.

Exams will take place between April 27th and May 9th, while assignments will be handed in between May 11th and May 15th, Mitchell told students in an email.

Schools will decide what constitutes an exam and what constitutes an assessment, and will set deadlines accordingly.


In an email to students, Mitchell wrote: “These plans are designed to allow you all to complete your studies for this semester and either graduate or progress to your next year of studies. We recognise the very challenging and stressful circumstances that many of you are facing and want to assure you that they are being taken into account in the design and marking of the assessments.”

“For some modules, the scheduled final examination will be replaced by an assignment”, he said. “In other cases, an exam will be set. This will either be in a take-home format that can be completed offline and uploaded by a given time or in a real-time online format, where students will interact continuously with the online platform.”

These exams will take place between Monday April 27th and Saturday May 9th – an expansion on the assessment period in Trinity’s Calendar, which put them between April 27th and May 2nd.

“Assignments that replace scheduled final examinations will be set a deadline in the third week of this period (11th-15th May)”, Mitchell added.

“There will be a small number of exceptions to this general timeline”, he said, “especially for Schools with professional accreditation requirements or, as in some Health Sciences disciplines, where the assessment schedule has been expedited to get students graduated and into the workforce. Your Schools will advise where this is the case.”

“We are working now with Schools to finalise the details of assessment for each module, including the requirements for IT support, central scheduling, and other academic and logistical concerns. We hope to have that work completed by early next week, after which these details will be communicated to you.”

Students will be issued with “a detailed schedule of the precise times of all assessment events and assignment deadlines” within these periods.

“These details will be released to you as soon as we have finalised them and ensured we have met the many operational challenges posed by the current situation”, Mitchell wrote.

Yesterday, The University Times revealed that Provost Patrick Prendergast, Vice-Provost Jurgen Barkhoff and Mitchell have been granted the power to unilaterally make decisions about this year’s exams, without the approval of College Board or University Council.

Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union President Laura Beston yesterday said that the College is considering a proposal to implement a “no detriment” policy in this year’s summer assessments, which could mean students who get over 40 will not have their overall mark for the year brought down by summer assessments.

Two petitions launched earlier this week, calling on Trinity to implement such a policy, have gathered over 4,000 signatures.

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